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Wheel Bug (Arilus cristatus)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Wheel Bug.


 Updated: 8/16/2017; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.InsectIdentification.org



  Wheel Bug  
Picture of Wheel-Bug


The Wheel Bug is a stealthy assassin with a fang even humans would be wise to avoid.





This large insect is well-noted for its incredibly painful bite when disturbed or nonchalantly handled. A member of the Assassin Bug family, the Wheel Bug attacks its prey (other insects) with vicious stabbing motions using the 'fang' at the front of its head. This is the same fang that painfully stabs humans who handle it or disturb it.

The Wheel Bug is best identified by the ridged, or spiny, wheel on its pronotum (back), which gives the insect its name. The Wheel Bug operates primarily from summer into fall and feeds on other insects including any slow-moving caterpillars. Its diet forces the Wheel Bug to reside primarily in leafy areas like forests, parks or shrubbery.

Females lay eggs on twigs and branches in clusters that almost resemble a honeycomb shape. Tiny larvae hatch and look completely different from their adult form (see photos). These small red and black larvae will molt many times before growing to adult size and developing the 'wheel' on their backs.
Basic Information
Common Name: Wheel Bug
Scientific Name: Arilus cristatus
Category: True Bug


General Identification
Size (Adult; Length): 28mm to 36mm (1.09in to 1.40in)
Colorwheel Graphic
Identifying Colors: brown; gray; blue; red; black
Additional Descriptors: spiky back, wheel, saw, fuzzy, arched back, fang, flying




Taxonomic Hierarchy
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hemiptera
Family: Reduviidae
Genus: Arilus
Species: cristatus




Territorial Reach (A-to-Z)
Note: An insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed below as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns. Grayed-out selections below indicate that the subject in question has not been reported in that particular territory. U.S. states and Canadian provinces / territories are clickable to their respective bug listings.
Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming
Canadian National Flag Graphic
Alberta
British Columbia
Manitoba
New Brunswick
Newfoundland and Labrador
Nova Scotia
Ontario
Prince Edward Island
Quebec
Saskatchewan
Mexican National Flag Graphic
Mexico


Territorial Area Map (Visual Reference Guide)
The map below showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Wheel Bug may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data can be useful in seeing concentrations of a particular species over the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some species are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America.
Alaska  
Hawaii  
Prince Edward Is.  
State of Alabama graphic
State of Arizona graphic
State of Arkansas graphic
State of California graphic
State of Colorado graphic
State of Delware graphic
State of Florida graphic
State of Georgia graphic
State of Idaho graphic
State of Illinois graphic
State of Indiana graphic
State of Iowa graphic
State of Kansas graphic
State of Kentucky graphic
State of Louisiana graphic
State of Maine graphic
State of Maryland graphic
State of Michigan graphic
State of Minnesota graphic
State of Mississippi graphic
State of Missouri graphic
State of Montana graphic
State of Nebraska graphic
State of Nevada graphic
State of New England graphic
State of New Jersey graphic
State of New Mexico graphic
State of New York graphic
State of North Carolina graphic
State of North Dakota graphic
State of Ohio graphic
State of Oklahoma graphic
State of Oregon graphic
State of Pennsylvania graphic
State of South Carolina graphic
State of South Dakota graphic
State of Tennessee graphic
State of Texas graphic
State of Utah graphic
State of Virginia graphic
State of Washington graphic
State of West Virginia graphic
State of Wisconsin graphic
State of Wyoming graphic
Canadian territory of Alberta graphic
Canadian territory of British Columbia graphic
Canadian territory of Manitoba graphic
Canadian territory of New Brunswick graphic
Canadian territory of Newfoundland and Labrador graphic
Canadian territory of Ontario graphic
Canadian territory of Quebec graphic
Canadian territory of Saskatchewan graphic
Territory map graphic of the country of Mexico
Contiguous United States shape map layer graphic


Images Gallery for the Wheel Bug
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